The pace of sales tax revenue growth slowed in Northwest Arkansas’ four largest cities. However, Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale and Bentonville reported record sales tax revenue this year totaling $62.338 million, up 4.39% from a year ago.
Revenue grew 9.48% last year and city officials said at the time that the growth was unsustainable even for Northwest Arkansas. The December tax report reflects tax revenue collected in October.
December revenue was mixed among the cities, but overall revenue totaled $5.252 million, down 4.07% from a year ago. Each city collects a 2% tax on goods and services, half of that goes to repay debt and the remaining 1% is funneled into the annual budget. This report reflects the latter. Following are city collections in the December revenue reports.
• Bentonville: $933,009, down 22.36%
• Fayetteville: $1,728 million, up 0.26%
• Rogers: $1.454 million, up 3.94%
• Springdale: $1.136 million, down 1.19%
The bulk of the decline in December is attributed to Bentonville, but city officials say revenue is still within budget for the year.
Each of the cities have seen growth over the past year with more housing starts, new restaurants and a few new shopping venues. Some of the new stores include: Raising Canes, Fayetteville and Rogers; Captain D’s, Rogers anbd Springdale; Harbor Freight Tools, Rogers; Newk’s Eatery, Rogers; Bike Rack Brewery, Bentonville; Great American Taco, Bentonville; Fuzzy’s Taco, Rogers; Ross Stores, Rogers (second location); Freddy’s, Springdale and Fayetteville; and Steinmart, Rogers.
All four mayors in the respective cities have said their sales tax revenue exceeded budget projections for 2016. Bentonville Mayor Bob McCaslin said the growth in the region should continue to fuel modest gains in sales tax revenue if the economy remains strong.
“We continue to see businesses seek out private investments in the city and that’s a big vote of confidence for Bentonville. We are pleased with the growth and we will continue to budget conservatively,” McCaslin said.
Bentonville reported total revenue of $11.3 million for the 12-month reporting year, down fractionally from the $11.4 million reported in 2015, which was a record for the city. McCaslin said the city’s fiscal year budget includes the tax revenue that will be collected in January and at this point revenue is in within budget and January revenue should ring up a slight surplus.
Earlier this year Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan predicted another solid year of growth for the city and while revenue growth slowed from a year ago the city managed to pull off a record $20.587 million total this year, up 4.6% from a year ago. There is ample residential building in the city and Jordan expects more retail to follow the rooftops later this year. For example, JJ’s is building a large beer garden restaurant and entertainment venue uptown in the Steele Crossing area near two major multifamily housing complexes under construction.
In Springdale growth continues to blossom, particularly on the west side of Interstate 49. Arkansas Children’s Hospital Northwest will remain under construction through the fall of 2017 with opening slated for January 2018. Just down the road Sam’s Club is taking shape with construction underway on the retailer’s third club in the region. The Springdale Sam’s Club is expected to open in 2017.
Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said growth around the city and the revitalization of downtown are positive aspects that could help the city attract more businesses. Sam’s Club alone is expected to bring a nice bump to the city’s revenue stream, Sprouse said when the retailer pulled out of Springdale in 2006 it was about a $1 million hit to the city’s sale tax revenue. Today there are two other Sam’s Clubs operating in the region, which wasn’t the case before 2006. Springdale’s 2016 revenue totaled $13.19 million, up 5.4% from a year. While the growth rate was solid, it was half of the 10.22% growth recorded in the prior year.
Rogers continues to see retail growth around town, more so than its sister cities. Rogers saw record revenue of $17.26 million for the year, up 7.08% from last year. City officials budgeted $15.264 million for the year and pulled in nearly $2 million more. Rogers came closest to hitting last year’s growth rate but fell a little short of the 8.34% reported for 2015.
Despite the increases in tax revenue, the mayors said they will take a conservative approach with 2017 budgets. Each of the cities continue to work on street improvements, trails and parks along with other amenities.
SALES TAX REVENUE (January through December)
2016: $11.3 million
2015: $11.401 million
2014: $10.007 million
2016: $20.587 million
2015: $19.682 million
2014: $18.307 million
2016: $17.26 million
2015: $16.118 million
2014: $14.877 million
2016: $13.19 million
2015: $12.513 million
2014: $11.353 million